The Paris police HQ is to open its second world war archives and allow the public to see for the first time the full extent of the force’s collaboration with the Nazis.
“At last, everyone will be able to research the history of their parents and families, calmly and in an appropriate place,” the Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld said after Pierre Mutz, the police chief, signed an agreement to transfer the archives to the Paris Holocaust memorial museum …
Tonnes of wartime statements and charge sheets were deliberately destroyed in 1948. They included most of the operational details of the notorious Vel d’Hiv raids of July 1942, in which some 4,500 over-zealous French officers rounded up 13,152 Jews, including 4,050 children.
But Mr Klarsfeld, who with a handful of other researchers gained access to a small part of the remaining archives in the mid-1980s, said they contained “tens of thousands” of priceless documents, including arrest warrants classifying Jews by name, address, profession and nationality.
There are also chilling records of the day-to-day running and accounts of the Drancy transit camp through which most of the 76,000 Jews deported from France to Nazi death camps passed; long lists of confiscated possessions; and the plans and reports relating to many other police operations, including further mass round-ups of Jews.
UPDATE. In other old-timey news, Paul Kelly examines Labor’s WWII record:
In a sense Downer walked around the main point but missed it: that Labor needs to mythologise Curtin’s successful wartime leadership in order to conceal the extent of its crippling isolationism at the outset of World War II … In September 1938 Curtin had declared that “the wars of Europe are a quagmire in which we should not allow our resources, our strength, our vitality to be sunk”.
Curtin gradually changed his mind, and his party’s position. As Kelly writes: “Curtin’s career showed that, even for an idealist, the time arrives when Labor’s sacred orthodoxies must be slain.”